Guest Josh

Are “Give Backs” Worth It?

39 posts in this topic

We all know my stance and opinions on the UAW (and Unions in general) and General Motors. I’m a firm believer in that the company and the membership can work side by side for the greatest cause, providing good pay for hard work. After all, that is the American Way as classified by our founding fathers. We are all raised in the sense that to achieve something, we must work to achieve it. The UAW had paved the way that “30 and out” is a very real possibility. You work 30 years, you are eligible for retirement with full pension, health benefits, employee pricing opportunities and the like. The UAW has also worked for its members to ensure a somewhat comfortable lifestyle making roughly $40k - $60k a year for the average assembly line worker. Day in, day out. 8, 9 or 10 hours on your feet. Tightening bolts, mounting tires. You get the idea. The time comes however when one must ask yourself when a good “give back” is truthfully a good “give back.” Let me point to the Northwest Airlines as a prime example. The pilots union has given the NWA board of directors exactly what they’ve asked for. They’ve taken some pretty significant cuts, huge reductions in staff and minimal (if any) pay increases over the last few years. All because the NWA has deemed such “give backs” necessary to ensure its survival. The latest attempt at bullying and scare tactics is not hard to find. The mechanics union is currently on strike and has been since late August. Northwest Airlines once again claimed that the Union had to take significant pay cuts for the airline to remain profitable. This after the AMFA (Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association) had already taken previous cuts in staff, salary, and health benefits. The last and final proposition from Northwest deemed the Union must not hire any workers to replace retired workers which would in essence mean there would be no union in 2011 or sooner. Fast forward today and the headlines that are so evident in today’s media. Rumors are running rampant that Northwest must declare bankruptcy because they cannot afford to pay their bills. Northwest has already missed two bankruptcy payments and shows no intentions of making a $62 pension payment (tomorrow) 9/15. Furthermore, the airline has started to hire replacement workers at a far less pay rate to replace striking unionized mechanics. Northwest has in essence gotten their way. They’ve been able to hire replacement workers with far less pay and less benefits, they’ve gotten their give backs from the pilots union, they have also received help from banks in the form of loans and grants, however the story still remains the same. GIVE! GIVE! GIVE! As I watch the news stories unfold on the negotiations of the CAW (Canadian Automotive Workers) and the Big 3 up north I can’t help but see the same scenario play out. Management not being held accountable for their actions. Instead the unions continue to give, give, give while the company greedily take take take. Executives still receive their lucrative salaries. Their generous bonuses month after month, year after year for running a company that continues to lose market share as quick as it can think of the next employee pricing scheme. Somewhere it has to end, and for the mechanics it has ended. Replacement workers are the answer for the often mismanaged Northwest Airlines. I can’t help but come to truth with the glaring realization that my father will be the 3rd and final generation of Oliver’s to grace a General Motors blue collar shirt in an attempt to do what’s right in his attempt at the American Dream.
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The lack of accountability and responsibility at the top is a disease that is sweeping corporate America. Who qualifies to sit on the typical board of a major multi-national corporation? Are there any engineers or marketing types or anybody that even knows anything about that particular business sitting on the board? Doubtfully. All lawyers, bankers and bean counters. Ever since Walter, Henry and Durant passed on, the auto companies boards are largely run by people from outside the business. And what happens to these people when they run a business into the ground? Why, they show up on another company's board of directors! We keep on being told that big is better and that companies must be the size of Wal-Mart or General Electric so succeed, but as a nation, what are we losing? When you go to a Wal-Mart (and I am not picking on them) and you complain about something, do you ever get the feeling that anyone gives a s**t? Even if you got the store manager, odds are he/she has only been there six months and six months from now will be gone, too. Until the people in charge either actually OWN the company, or at least can be held accountable, nothing will change. But just to play contrarian, if Boards are truly accountable, nobody will want to be on them because of the legal liability and the lawsuits. Double edged sword. Which then heaps the blame where it truly belongs: the legislators and the lawyers - and us for letting them.
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Northwest and Delta filed for bankruptcy today. Yes the management is at fault but it's not all their fault. Everything that eats at a company's profits is to blame from wages to fuel.
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Its good to see that there are people out there who are more than happy to work. If union workers don't want work, they can watch as their jobs are handed out to others. Sure, achieving your dreams is the American way, but so is capitalism.
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Its good to see that there are people out there who are more than happy to work.  If union workers don't want work, they can watch as their jobs are handed out to others.

Sure, achieving your dreams is the American way, but so is capitalism.

[post="14426"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?

Boy. I should take a lesson in Bowtie_dude 101 cause it sounds like you sure have a firm grasp of what's going on today.
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So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?

Boy. I should take a lesson in Bowtie_dude 101 cause it sounds like you sure have a firm grasp of what's going on today.

[post="14531"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Interesting quote "So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?
"

If you don't want to be "controlled" I suggest you start your own company. Being part of a union isn't going to stop this situation.

"Telling you what you are worth?" To me this is just part of life in corporate America, union or not. I have always had a problem with the fact when an employee is hired, he's then on a pretty consistent march at 3% a year raises unless he's fortunate enough to get a "promotion" which basically amounts to a bullshit title change and a little more money that those around you. It's been this way with every company I've every worked for.

The problem comes down to the fact that being an employee of any kind means the company owns you. It's like being in business for yourself but having only one customer which puts you at the mercy of the company's every whim. Again, not sure how you're going to change this without starting your own business and developing more customers.

NWA's union issues come down to the fact that there is a supply and demand effect with labor. Apparently the labor supply is above demand so they can afford to pay less by using non-union labor. I don't see anything wrong with this. The airlines are in the same situation. Their product is really a commodity and price drives revenue.

I've never liked unions. My dad was a railroad union guy. They were all about getting everything they could out of the company. Every union person I've ever met was the same way. My brother works for a city union today and they are the laziest people I've ever seen. Unfortunately without a market to force the city to worry about labor costs nothing will ever be done about these people. They should be put out on the street but the union will protect them. This is good for America?
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So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?

Boy. I should take a lesson in Bowtie_dude 101 cause it sounds like you sure have a firm grasp of what's going on today.

[post="14531"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


No, I'd rather be a millionaire. But thats not how this world works.
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Politicians of both parties have trumpeted the "virtues" of the world economy. Manufactured goods are cheaper than ever before, because the stuff is all being made overseas by workers making a tiny fraction of what we pay our own. The American consumer is king. The American worker is screwed. We've made our bed, and now we gotta lie in it. Are UAW wages and benefits too high for the Big Three to compete? Unfortunately - even as compared to the foreign automakers with plants here, who have resisted the golden pensions and health benefits the UAW won in years past when the Big Three were in a dominating position. The UAW can either give back some of this gold, or the jobs will disappear. But the opposite proposition isn't necessarily true - that givebacks will assure American jobs. This is especially so in the case of automaking, where the Big Three have mature foreign operations and relations with foreign suppliers. The trick is that the UAW must negotiate givebacks, in exchange for explicit committments to keep American plants open, and to build future platforms for the American market (like Zeta) here. It is astonishing to me that if I want an American-made mid-size sedan, I can get one from Honda, Toyota, even Hyundae, but not from Ford. A couple of hundred thousand Fusions will be sold here, all built in Mexico. And Wixom will likely close. And it all makes perfect sense to me, and to Ford. When will the UAW wake up, and realize that its constituency isn't solely the old guys on the line, working toward that 30-and-out golden ticket? Once those guys are gone, they won't be replaced, not with Americans at any rate, so long as the UAW ignores the younger generation in its short-sighted approach to negotiations. Edited by Jazzhead
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So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?

Boy. I should take a lesson in Bowtie_dude 101 cause it sounds like you sure have a firm grasp of what's going on today.

[post="14531"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Sorry, but we DO live in a world that controls us. If its not the Union or Management telling us what we are worth, someone else is. Even if you own your own business (service in particular), the customers tell you what you're worth. There are few jobs where you actually control yourself, everywhere else you're nothing but a pee-on!!

THAT is the FULL grasp of reality in this country.
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people these days hting hte world OWES them a fine living. sorry but you work your ass off or learn to screw over people to get ahead in htis world. thats just the way it is. Unions only hurt hte parent company, which if Im not mistaken GAVE THE UNION WORKER A JOB TO START WITH. why not clamp down on hte hand that feeds you just a bit harder. Hell bite it clean off and then starve to death when you relaize you just killed your life support.
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Neither the unions nor the management alone are the problem. Between them they can both make such shortsighted decisions that can run a company into the ground. The UAW has gotten spme pretty excellent deals for their members over the years but the bottom line is this. If GM continues to struggle with some of these costs, the price of their vehicles will have to stay higher than the competition. I have never been a union fan. But, I do know that the best way to ensure that the workers are taken care of is for them to band together, hence unions. Without the unions, believe me, the American worker would be much worse off than they are today. Unfortunately, much of the time the union and companies form this combatative relationship and won't work together to serve both sides. A bit of taking the long view now could increase the bottom line of the company and get more for the members in the future. Just my .02
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Although the airline industry got whacked with 9/11, a general downturn in international air travel, increased security costs and now soaring fuel prices, we are seeing in interesting mix of events occurring that are resulting in these bankruptcies - not the least of which is corporate greed. Deregulation of the skies may seem great to the consumer, but what we are seeing is that the unions can give and give, but there are no guarantees. Perhaps (and I am only throwing this out there) bankruptcy laws are too lenient. A lot of bad management decisions can be overcome by bankruptcy - and do any of the members of the Board lose their homes? I read with some astonishment today that Sears has sold off its credit card business and may pay out $2billion in a dividend. I thought: isn't Wal-mart pretty much kicking their ass? Wouldn't the $2billion be better spent on other things? And isn't most of their profit coming from the credit end of the business? Where will Sears be in few years? Wall Street is allowed way too much latitude. The Board only looks at the next few quarters, never beyond that. Shareholders are too demanding. They want results now. Ironically, many of the union pension funds are those demanding shareholders. Slight conflict of interest, eh?
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Yes unions do help in some situations. Unfortunately it is not right for someone to keep their job if they are always late, doing drugs, or not doing there job correctly. First and foremost a company has the right to make as much money as they want not matter who does the work in the United States or anywhere else. My dad worked at a union shop and it did serve him well. However I also don't believe you should be forced to belong to a union, it should be a choice. Some of GM's problems are corporate and some are employees. I bought a 2002 pontiac grand prix. Notice one day the exhaust was leaning a little, well I looked under the care and the brackets on each side of the car was missing a bolt....and I also noticed the rear bumper was not tight to the car on the rear driver side, bolt not fully tightened. HMM..I don't that is a corporate issue that is from an employee not caring about his job he makes too much money for unskilled labor...but he doesn't care because the union has his back. Since I am mechanically inclinded i fixed it myself. However most people will never fix and then the perception goes down because of what it looks like. I believe people need to wake up and realize if you do a good job you will be rewarded, every job i've had its been like that. Unfortunately GM and Ford have both made it too easy to bring family workers into the mix, so if you have a lazy family that person will never try to do more they have to and its a cycle. However lately I believe the people left at GM and Ford want to work and that's one reason your are seeing changes. The union will look out for itself in years to come, good example is the UPS strike about 8 years ago....workers got like 50 dollars a week....union reps got their full pay.....after strike workers really didn't' end up with anything good but loss of pay and financial trouble. I hope unions never go completely away but don't protect workers who do not deserve to be protected. I know for a fact their are people who love to have those jobs and pay and would do a much better job but unfortunately they are hard to come by now. Just because you are family should not mean you get the job....every work should be looked at how they do the job not for who they are....
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Hmmmm. Would I: 1) Like to have a job where my raise amount and timing is based on my ability to do good work on time. OR 2) Get a set raise every year that is the exact same as the guy standing next to me who does nothing productive, screws around, disappears for periods of time, and I have to fix mistakes for. Plus I have to now pay a monthly fee for this privilege. Yeah, that's a tough one.
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"The UAW has also worked for its members to ensure a somewhat comfortable lifestyle making roughly $40k - $60k a year for the average assembly line worker. Day in, day out. 8, 9 or 10 hours on your feet. Tightening bolts, mounting tires. You get the idea." $60k a year? Unfortunatley the world is changing too quickily and the UAW leaders are living in the past. Too much foreign competition to contend with that don't have all these legacy costs to deal with. The worst may be to come in the next few years when China's auto industry really gets rolling.Wait until they're sending over cars that are comparable to a Cobalt for half the price. I realize the union is fighting for their best interests but in the end it will be themselves and GM who will be the biggest losers. GM's hourly labour costs (including health care, etc) for a worker who builds a Cobalt is $60 an hour, in China a worker makes just under $3 U.S. an hour. How are you going to compete with that. Let's suppose for fun GM didn't have the UAW to contend with , and they built a brand new plant somewhere in the U.S. to make a small car like the Aveo. They annouce they will hire 2000 new employees and the Salaries will be around $25k-30K a year, excellent working conditions in a brand new state of the art factory, SOME healthcare benefits, a basis pension plan. I'm betting they would get about 250 thousand applications because millions of people work for a lot less.
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"The UAW has also worked for its members to ensure a somewhat comfortable lifestyle making roughly $40k - $60k a year for the average assembly line worker. Day in, day out. 8, 9 or 10 hours on your feet. Tightening bolts, mounting tires. You get the idea."
$60k a year? Unfortunatley the world is changing too quickily and the UAW leaders are living in the past. Too much foreign competition to contend with that don't have all these legacy costs to deal with. The worst may be to come in the next few years when China's auto industry really gets rolling.Wait until they're sending over cars that are comparable to a Cobalt for half the price. I realize the union is fighting for their best interests but in the end it will be themselves and GM who will be the biggest losers. GM's hourly labour costs (including health care, etc) for a worker who builds a Cobalt is $60 an hour, in China a worker makes just under $3 U.S. an hour. How are you going to compete with that.
Let's suppose for fun GM didn't have the UAW to contend with , and they built a brand new plant somewhere in the U.S. to make a small car like the Aveo. They annouce they will hire 2000 new employees and the Salaries will be around $25k-30K a year, excellent working conditions in a brand new state of the art factory, SOME healthcare benefits, a basis pension plan. I'm betting they would get about 250 thousand applications because millions of people work for a lot less.

[post="14865"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Hell, I work for $28k a year (salary), pay $100 a month for pretty good healthcare (medical, dental, vision, and basic life), and pay into my 401k (my company currently does not contribute).

But thats not good enough for people with half my education, apparently. :rolleyes:
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"The UAW has also worked for its members to ensure a somewhat comfortable lifestyle making roughly $40k - $60k a year for the average assembly line worker. Day in, day out. 8, 9 or 10 hours on your feet. Tightening bolts, mounting tires. You get the idea."
$60k a year? Unfortunatley the world is changing too quickily and the UAW leaders are living in the past. Too much foreign competition to contend with that don't have all these legacy costs to deal with. The worst may be to come in the next few years when China's auto industry really gets rolling.Wait until they're sending over cars that are comparable to a Cobalt for half the price. I realize the union is fighting for their best interests but in the end it will be themselves and GM who will be the biggest losers. GM's hourly labour costs (including health care, etc) for a worker who builds a Cobalt is $60 an hour, in China a worker makes just under $3 U.S. an hour. How are you going to compete with that.
Let's suppose for fun GM didn't have the UAW to contend with , and they built a brand new plant somewhere in the U.S. to make a small car like the Aveo. They annouce they will hire 2000 new employees and the Salaries will be around $25k-30K a year, excellent working conditions in a brand new state of the art factory, SOME healthcare benefits, a basis pension plan. I'm betting they would get about 250 thousand applications because millions of people work for a lot less.

[post="14865"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Then GM could make a good profit, which can be used to upgrade all their other cars and bring us cars people really want. Then GM will sell more cars, and wont have to close half their plants.
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I agree with what everyone has pretty much said. Unions have their good sides and their bad sides, the only down side is that there are a lot of people that want to collect a check and not actually WORK. Like today, I work at a CarQuest parts store and we got a delivery in, so I helped the guy offload it off the truck, signed for the delivery and put up 3/4 of it before someone even lifted a finger to help me....but that's the way it goes, a lot of people just want to take up space and get money, instead of actually having to do their damned jobs.
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This question is the same as the question about social security... People are living longer, those numbers must be expanded... if someone is 58, they shouldnt be able to retire and live until 100 on GM's tab... same with Social securities... GM must make note of this, and so should Bush... I dont intend on retiring when I'm that age, probably not until 65, but even then it will be on my own merit and my own investments... not the investments you havent made into a company that isnt being successful in a global market... by that I mean many people who are retiring now, are some of the people who worked for GM's problem years, I'm not saying that the guy who is going to respond to this and say Hey I'm looking to retire soon and I've been working at GM for 25 years and I've done my best. I thank you, but you arent the problem the Union is. The union has not always inforced quality, and has not always cared... this is evident in todays marketshare decline... GM's problems are American Problems, Ford's Problems are American Problems, Chryslers problems were American problems, now its DCX's problems, but again the origin is America... Legislature MUST BE CHANGED, I'm not presuming a solution, but obviously if the American company, and the American way is failing, something must be changed, thats what legislation is for, to change with society and to adapt to a changing world and ecconomy. Social Security and Union Benifits are exactly the same pricipal, and when people say Social Security will be bankrupt before 2018, what will happen to all UAW workers? The benifits out weigh their worth, they cannot afford to give the employees those benifits. Americans are not willing to afford those benifits to those people. And thus GM cant afford to lose any market share, and those employees wont have jobs soon if they dont give up something.
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A union can and should look out for its members' interests. But there is a vast difference in consequences between a union looking out for its members' long term interests, and their short term ones. Saving retirees from having to contribute a fair share towards health insurance, or ensuring golden pensions for the long-service types, are acheivable short term goals, but the price is considerable - when new platforms and products are introduced, they will be made using GM's global resources - in Australia, in Mexico, in Europe, in China. What is the future for younger workers? Where will there jobs be? Does the UAW care so long as takes care of the older guys? Well, the older guys are the problem. GM can't compete against leaner rivals while carrying all those old guys who smoke, binge eat and retire early with full health benefits on the company dime.
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Well, the older guys are the problem.    GM can't compete against leaner rivals while carrying all those old guys who smoke, binge eat and retire early with full health benefits on the company dime.

[post="15078"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


yeh and don't forget if GM didn't have to pay for all that Viagra for their retirees the G6 might of had a better interior! :lol:
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So you would rather live in a world that controls you, telling you what you are worth. With your bosses telling you what you can do to succeed, etc?


The market should decide how much somebody is worth. If you're not happy with what the market is willing to pay you acquire a skill that pays more.

Boy. I should take a lesson in Bowtie_dude 101 cause it sounds like you sure have a firm grasp of what's going on today.

[post="14531"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


maybe you should. Edited by Member55
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yeh and don't forget if GM didn't have to pay for all that Viagra for their retirees the G6 might of had a better interior! :lol:

[post="15137"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

The G6 has plenty of wood, whether it be artificial or not.
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I think it has a lot to do with no longer having pride in America itself. If we did-we wouldn't all go out and by the cheapest thing possible. Once in a while, I see a few things that say made in the USA...then I laugh. It will be just a matter of time before nothing is no longer here..because it will be cheaper to make it somewhere else. I took pride in buying my Cavalier, knowing that I'm supporting someone in L-town....one of many reasons that I bought it. I could have bought a Rio, or an Accent, or even a Civic. We shouldn't be happy with just being able to just get something....as Americans, And American companies ,should take care of things here first. Wall street has everyone so worried about profit, companies will do whatever it takes to hit those high profits marks. By this time next year, Nothwest will have no unions. There won't be a point. The union employees could strike, like our current ones, which will never come back to work. If Northwest does come out of this-workers will make about 40% less than they do now. Have pride? Why? I might be cheaper to have somewhere else... :blink: :angry:
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The market should decide how much somebody is worth. If you're not happy with what the market is willing to pay you acquire a skill that pays more.
maybe you should.

[post="15386"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The Market huh? So if I tell you you're worth 8 bucks an hour, you'll take it?
What if they can't afford to aquire those skills? What about families?
I can tell some of you don't have kids then....


kinda sad if a family is going to live on 28k...
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